Deloading 101

What is a deload? Is it just a period of time where you're doing nothing and just being lazy? No, absolutely not! Deloading is actually a planned schedule of recovery that is strategically used to maximize training performance and longevity.

So, how does one know when they need to deload? Some common indicators that it is time to take a deload are if you notice that you are starting to get weaker and that doesn't mean just one day, it means for a consistent period of time. The second indicator is if your joints and muscles are constantly in pain. This is different from being sore or tired after a workout. It means that you are sore and achy all the time. Doing things like bending down to get something or walking up the stairs hurt is what I mean. Lastly, if you start getting sick often such as the flu, it might be time to take a deload.

There are various ways to go about taking a deload. The first and most common way to deload is to drop your exercises to around 40 to 50 percent of your 1 rep max and do low reps and sets with it. By doing this, you give your joints, your central nervous system and your muscles a break from heavy training and allow your body to recover while being able to train at the same time.

Another way to deload is to only deload the lift or lifts that you are feeling fatigued in. For example if your squat and deadlift are feeling sub optimal and your numbers are taking a hit. Just reduce your training volume and weights for the squat and deadlift and focus on your upper body for the week. This allows your nagging areas to get some much needed recovery time while not derailing the areas that are continuing to make progress.

Lastly, how long should you deload for? There is no one correct answer to this question. You have to be able to listen to your body and go by feel. Sometimes all you need is 3 or 4 deload workouts and you feel wonderful, but sometimes you need a whole week to feel fully ready to attack the weights at a 100 percent again. So, just make sure to be in tune with your body. Listen to your body, not your ego.

In conclusion, deloading is a vital training tool that should be a part of everyone's training. Working out is all about long term success. Taking deloads periodically when needed will allow your body to continue to be at it's best working capacity which will help you achieve your training goals without getting injured and derailing you off your program. So don't be afraid my fellow brothers in iron, put down those 100s and give those 50s a ride once in a while. You won't regret it!

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